After reviewing I Find Myself Here, named album of the month by NEW LEASE MUSIC, it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome back ANTONIA REDDING to find out what she’s up to – and the inspiration behind her latest project.
NLM: First of all, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC
AR: Thank you for inviting me, it’s my pleasure.
NLM: You released your album I Find Myself Here in January. Describe the story behind the project?
AR: Since arriving in UK from Zimbabwe in 2005 I have been writing songs, developing my guitar, percussion and vocal skills and working on live performance practise. By 2013 I had an extensive body of work and my loyal fans began asking when I would bring out a CD. I had made a few attempts at recording but felt that my inadequate understanding of the production process was holding me back from achieving the quality I was after. I started studying production techniques, under the guidance of Joe Watson, and felt that a new doorway had opened up for me.
I decided to record one song with Joe in My 2014. This song was, Hold On, Release, which turned out so well that I decided to stick with Joe and at least record an EP. In fact 18 months later I had a twelve track album, I Find Myself Here, not just of my back catalogue but containing 5 songs I wrote during the recording process. Although Joe and I are mostly responsible for the instrumentation, I have also had some wonderfully accomplished guest artists. All in all this has produced an album that has exceeded my expectations.
NLM: What’s the public reception on the album?
AR: I have received a wonderful reaction to the album. My loyal fans who loved my songs really appreciated the quality of production. Those who did not know my music before have given great feedback about the lyrics, vocals and musicianship on the album. It has been described as ‘real’, ‘authentic’, ‘uplifting’, ‘heartfelt’, ‘deep’, ‘joyful’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘passionate’. Many have commented on the African rhythms that weave their way all through the album, giving it a unique feel.
NLM: What’s your favourite track on the album and why?
AR: I have different favourites at different times, depending on my mood, but if I had to pick one it would be Hearts and Stars. This song is special to me as I created it at one of my darkest times, and yet is so uplifting and filled with hope it makes me bounce with joy. It represents the essence of what songwriting is for me. A form of alchemy that transmutes dark powerful overwhelming emotions into something beautiful and joyful.
NLM: How would you describe your sound to potential fans?
AR: Deep and thoughtful lyrics with a blend of folk sounds, rock guitar, interesting instruments and African rhythms.
NLM: If you were to collaborate with just ONE chart-topping artist of today, who would it be?
AR: Of all the chart toppers, I have always admired Eminem as a lyricist. I enjoy hip hop beats and the way they are a vehicle for strong lyrics and vocals. I am always interested in doing collaborations outside of my primary genre, to extend my musical boundaries and expand my vocal abilities. So I would love to collaborate with Eminem.
NLM: If you were granted three wishes to change the music industry, what would they be?
AR: The music industry is in a state of rapid change at the moment due to advances in technology and access via the internet. I believe that this means the wishes I have for the industry are coming to pass.
a) A democratisation of the industry, that is more artist than label focused. We have better access to a wider range of independent artists who are driving their own success and are not so ‘hit’ focused, as is the limited field of major record labels. This means there is greater scope for creativity and the emergence of new and exciting sounds, and a focus on ‘great’ songs instead.
b) A crossover of global artists working together creating new future sounds.
c) Greater expansion and focus on live gigs and musical experiences.
NLM: What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Do you have any upcoming gigs/other projects?
AR: 2016 is an exciting year for me. With my album completed I can focus more on live gigs. Primarily my partner and I are developing an exclusive, private live venue in Brighton. I will be performing here over the summer and plan to develop live streaming of these events to make the live experience available to my global fans.
I have an exciting gig at Zimfest, Oslo, in Norway at the end of August. Not only will I have the chance to perform my songs, I have the great honour of performing backing vocals with Busi Ncube. She is a Zimbabwean legend and has always been one of my favourite live artists.
As far as writing and production go, I am collaborating with some different artists, in and out of my primary genre. I am coming up with some interesting new songs and expanding my vocal range.
NLM: How can potential fans reach you?
AR: Potential fans can reach me via my website www.antoniaredding.com
NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what other profession would you do?
AR: If music didn’t exist I would be an environmentalist. I love nature and am keen to find sustainable solutions to live harmoniously, rather than erroneously on this earth. I believe that this planet as our common ground, and what unites us as humanity. I hope that as humans we realise how petty our perceived differences are in the face of a universal view.